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Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that holds more meaning than it does physical reward. I think that's why I love it so much. I mean, sure, the holiday brings about thoughts of huge turkey dinners and more dessert than should be legal on your plate. But it's more than that. It's about being near family, or even friends who feel like family. It's about focusing on the positive and letting go of the negative. It's about remembering how blessed you really are, that you have more to be thankful for than you realize.

I hope your day is filled with much to be thankful for, and that the gratitude is catching beyond just today. I wish you all a very wonderful holiday surrounded by all the people you love, and who love you back. And I thank you for being a part of this community of parents, who are perfect in their imperfections and only trying to do our best to raise these little beings into decent adults, enjoying the adventure along the way.

Thank you for just showing up.

<em>Here are a few things you won't want to miss at SantaRosaMom.com:</em>

<a href="http://village.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/10727/where-to-find-santa/" target="_blank"><strong>Guide to Santa Claus</strong></a>

Check out where the big guy is going to be from now until Christmas. My favorite is this weekend when Santa rides in to Petaluma aboard a tug boat on Saturday. See the guide for details to this event, and more.

<a href="http://www.santarosamom.com/forum/topics/thanksgiving-sides-what-are-you-serving" target="_blank"><strong>Unique Thanksgiving sides</strong></a>

Sure, we have the mashed potatoes, the stuffing, and the gravy. But raw oysters? What are some of the more unusual side dishes that make it to your Thanksgiving table?

<a href="http://www.santarosamom.com/forum/topics/must-have-gifts-for-2012" target="_blank"><strong>Must have gifts</strong></a>

There was the year that Tickle Me Elmo was all the rage. Then there were the Fur-Pets. Some kids still love Transformers, and others are hoping Santa is just doling out cash. What is your kid hoping for this year? How about you, what do YOU want?

<a href="http://www.santarosamom.com/forum/topics/do-you-cut-your-own-christmas-tree" target="_blank"><strong>Do you cut your own tree?</strong></a>

I'm putting together my list of Christmas tree farms, and I would love to hear from you. Does your family visit any of the Christmas Tree farms in Sonoma County? Share your story and your favorite farm by emailing me at <a href="mail to: crissi.langwell@pressdemocrat.com" target="_blank">crissi.langwell@pressdemocrat.com</a>.

<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Family Events</strong></span>

Friday, Nov. 23

<strong>Santa Rosa Open House & Tree Lighting:</strong> Round out your Black Friday of holiday shopping by visiting the merchants of downtown Santa Rosa. From noon to 5 p.m., restaurants and shops will be offering holiday discounts, and the town will be filled with carolers, tasty food, and seasonal festivities, decorated to the holiday nines for the start of the season. Stick around, because the large tree in Courthouse Square will be lit up for the tree lighting ceremony from 5-7 p.m., and includes a visually stunning candle lighting ceremony. Downtown Santa Rosa. <a href="http://facebook.com/CourthouseSquare" target="_blank">facebook.com/CourthouseSquare</a>

Saturday, Nov. 24<strong>

Annual Lighting of the Snowmen:</strong> Cornerstone hosts the visual treat of lit up snowmen despite our lack of snow! Along with live music, ballet performances, and a Holiday Beer Garden where the grown ups get to keep their steins, is the infamous big blue chair where Santa will be hanging out for photos and Christmas wishes. Plus, the event doubles as a benefit for Pets Life Line through ticket sales for activities and treats like decorating gingerbread cookies, face painting, holiday crafts and games, grab-bag gifts, hot chocolate, and roasted chestnuts. 4-8 p.m. Cornerstone Sonoma. 23667 Hwy 121, Sonoma. <a href="http://www.cornerstonesonoma.com" target="_blank">cornerstonesonoma.com</a>

Saturday, Nov. 24

<strong>Crafterino: </strong> The annual craft mart with adorable handmade crafts is back this year in a fundraiser to benefit Cots. First 50 entrants receive Crafterino Swag Bags. $1. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Petaluma Veterans Memorial Hall. 1094 Petaluma Blvd S., Petaluma. <a href="http://www.petalumadowntowncraftmart.com/" target="_blank">petalumadowntown craftmart.com</a>

P.S. See more craft fair dates <a href="http://707.pressdemocrat.com/2012-11-02/featured/draft-craft-fairs" target="_blank">HERE</a>.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Crissi Langwell

SantaRosaMom.com

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